In my August newsletter, I introduced the idea of de-cluttering your time - your schedule, your to-do list, your tasks. Incidentally, there are two dimensions to your life: time and space. They are so connected, that you can't change one without changing the other. In other words, as you clean out your house, you clean out your schedule, and visa versa (that's why upcoming newsletters address de-cluttering your space). An essential part of designing and building a rich, full, meaningful life is keeping out everything that is not part of your best life. You must put up the "Red Velvet Rope" on your time and allow only the very important activities into your schedule (It's your own "VIP" line). Your very important activities are the ones you love because they support your values and/or they make you come alive. In "Be the Best Version of You in 2010," I listed some questions to ask yourself to clarify your values.
When deciding what activities to allow past your red velvet rope, the bottom line is this:
Does this help me create my ideal life?
And if it doesn't, consider letting go of it, even if it's scary. If you are feeling too busy in your life, the most important thing you can do is subtract what you do not love from your schedule. You need to clear the clutter from your schedule to allow the good stuff to come in.
If an activity is an attempt to avoid crappy feelings (addictions to gambling, drugs, alcohol, food, shopping... start this way), don't let it past your red velvet rope, no matter how much fun or comfort it promises.
Here is something that I have found helpful to keep in mind: There are value-driven activities that may be stressful (job interview) or uncomfortable (child birth anyone?) or scary (dating). But that is o.k. There are many tools (I use in coaching) that can help you handle the thoughts & feelings that come along with doing things that enhance your life in the long run. There are also potentially boring, unpleasant tasks that support your values (Did you know that there is a book called After the Ecstasy, the Laundry)? Just make sure that your mouse activities are lining up with your eagle vision (Your Real Career and The Game of Life). Up next: tips on how to approach the tasks that are important, but don't exactly light you up.
Do you want your kids to become multi-tasking, stressed-out, achievement driven adults? If not, Ann Lamott asks why we are living in this manic way. This one is worth reading: Time Lost and Found.